Faculté des sciences

The influence of constrictivity on the effective transport properties of porous layers in electrolysis and fuel cells

Holzer, L. ; Wiedenmann, Daniel ; Münch, B. ; Keller, L. ; Prestat, M. ; Gasser, Ph. ; Robertson, I. ; Grobéty, Bernard

In: Journal of Materials Science, 2013, vol. 48, no. 7, p. 2934-2952

The aim of the present investigation is to define microstructure parameters, which control the effective transport properties in porous materials for energy technology. Recent improvements in 3D-imaging (FIB-nanotomography, synchrotron X-ray tomography) and image analysis (skeletonization and graph analysis, transport simulations) open new possibilities for the study of microstructure effects. In... Plus

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    Summary
    The aim of the present investigation is to define microstructure parameters, which control the effective transport properties in porous materials for energy technology. Recent improvements in 3D-imaging (FIB-nanotomography, synchrotron X-ray tomography) and image analysis (skeletonization and graph analysis, transport simulations) open new possibilities for the study of microstructure effects. In this study, we describe novel procedures for a quantitative analysis of constrictivity, which characterizes the so-called bottleneck effect. In a first experimental part, methodological tests are performed using a porous (La,Sr)CoO₃ material (SOFC cathode). The tests indicate that the proposed procedure for quantitative analysis of constrictivity gives reproducible results even for samples with inhomogeneous microstructures (cracks, gradient of porosity). In the second part, 3D analyses are combined with measurements of ionic conductivity by impedance spectroscopy. The investigations are preformed on membranes of electrolysis cells with porosities between 0.27 and 0.8. Surprisingly, the tortuosities remain nearly constant (1.6) for the entire range of porosity. In contrast, the constrictivities vary strongly and correlate well with the measured transport resistances. Hence, constrictivity represents the dominant microstructure parameter, which controls the effective transport properties in the analysed membrane materials. An empirical relationship is then derived for the calculation of effective transport properties based on phase volume fraction, tortuosity, and constrictivity.